Discussion Stations – an activity

I have to teach with a coursebook once a week. It isn’t terrible but it kind of sets boundaries a bit on what the twenty five students feel they can talk about. To prepare them for an assessment I am busy sorting out, a timed discussion, and extend beyond the book, I set up the following activity:

  1. Talk with the person next to you about the biggest issues and problems regarding garbage on a world scale.
  2. Go around, take the major themes of these discussions. Set up 6 stations to talk about those themes, one theme per station. Students have 6 x 3 minutes to have short discussions. They must visit at least three stations, and may choose to stay longer at some if it is particularly interesting.
  3. When finished, log the three most interesting/striking/important points in their notebooks.
  4. Find three people that they didn’t talk to at all in our lessons that day. Have three different conversations about those points and the three other people’s points.
  5. Edit and add to their own points. Homework is to research a bit deeper.

I am going to follow this up with some work on discourse markers for argument structure next week.

The activity worked really well and I am likely to repeat it in the future for other EGAP/discussion classes. The students were really interested in making the topics their own and expanded upon it very well, with vocabulary fed in and a bit of hot correction.

#FlashmobELT – So you said

It’s review week at school because my students have tests next week. I was looking at Anna Loseva’s #FlashmobELT boards for something to do to review four units with my students and saw the ‘So you said…’ activity by @annazernova (whom I cannot find on Twitter).
On the Lino board post, it says to ask the students to talk about the weekend but I changed it so they reviewing personal information, abilities and schedules.
I liked the activity as it got the students reporting speech as well as the language items above. It’s pretty snappy and it doesn’t just have to be for a warm-up activity.
I’ll definitely use it again because it’s useful having students reporting speech along with the items on the syllabus.